Nika Sojo Documents (二箇相承)

Nika Sojo are documents which were believed to be addressed from Nichiren to his disciple, Nikko, in 1282. They are regarded as documents that approved Nikko as the successor of each and every teaching by Nichiren (So-fuzokusho (total document for entrustment)) and decided Nikko as the chief priest of Kuon-ji Temple on Mt. Minobu (Betsu-fuzokusho). They are called Nika Sojo since there are 2 ('ni', in Japanese) documents, and from the place it was written, they are also called 'Minobu Sojo' and 'Ikegami Sojo' respectively. Originally, those were handed down to Omosu Honmon-ji Temple (Kitayama Honmon-ji Temple), but presently, there are no original copies by Nichiren, and only manuscripts are handed down to Yobo-ji Temple in Kyoto, Taiseki-ji Temple in Fuji, Nishiyama Honmon-ji Temple, and so on. Also, many different manuscripts exist.

History and Circumstances

Minobu Sojo, from its contents, is also called Nichiren Ichigo Guho Fuzokusho (document entrusting Nichiren's lifetime preachings) and Sofuzokusho. It is written that it was composed at Mt. Minobu right before Nichiren departed from Minobu, and is called Minobu Sojo. Nichiren departed from Minobu for a hot spring cure, and on his way, he stopped at Ikegami, and died at there. Ikegami Sojo is called that since it was written at the time of his death at Ikegami (Ikegami Honmon-ji Temple). Also from the description as the betto (chief priest) of Minobu Kuon-ji Temple, it is also called Minobusan Fuzokusho (document for entrustment of Mt. Minobu) and Betsu-fuzokusho.

The date on Minobu Sojo is September 13, but in Ganso Kado Ki (biography of Nichiren), it is written that he had departed from Minobu-sawa stream on September 8, so that he could not be at Mt. Minobu on September 13. From this date, some people point out that Nika Sojo are forged documents.

Further, Nika Sojo are regarded as fake documents since there are no records in ancient times, but according to Fuji Taiseki-ji Temple, there is a document by Niccho, who was one of roku roso (the Six Senior Disciples of Nichiren), called Honzon Sho Tokui Sho Soegaki (The Covering Letter of "Kanjin Honzon Sho" (the Spiritual Contemplation and the Most Venerable One)), written in the twenty-seventh year after Nichiren's death.

On November 19, 1308, it is described as follows in Honzon Sho Tokui Sho Soegaki.

By this entrustment of Nichiren's lifetime preaching, Nikko directly inherited the Buddhist teachings by the head of the sect Nichiren, and it is time that you should stop learning by yourself and spread the teachings to people as the second coming of Muhengyo Bosatsu (Boundless Practices) in Mappo (latter days of Buddhism) (Nichiren Shu Shugaku Zensho (the Complete Works of Nichiren Sect), volume 1).

However, in many articles which are regarded as having been written by Nichiren, the head of the sect is assumed as Shakyamuni, and since in Honzon Shoto Tokui Sho Soegaki it is written as the head of the sect Nichiren, it is pointed out that it was written in later years.

In 1350, it is described as follows in Saijarissho Sho (Commentary written by Nichijun about the principle images of kuge (court nobles) and samurai families).

Of edifying honzon written by Nichiren, there was Byakuren Ajari (a master in esoteric Buddhism) and so on written on the card granted to Nikko.
(Nichiren Shu Shugaku Zensho, volume 2)

This is not Nika Sojo itself, but it can be seen that there was some kind of a document of entrustment.

The disciples of Nichiren called his teachings ho (Buddhism), and called the proper inheritance of these teachings sojo, fuzoku, fuho, and so on. It is also called Yuiju Ichinin Kechimyaku Sojo (only one person to inherit the blood) and Chaku Chaku Fufo (legitimate inheritance), and regard it as the basis for the assertion of Nikko as the legitimacy. Strictly speaking, Nika Sojo and Kechimyaku Sojo are different things. However, the assertion of Nikkomon School, which argues that only Nikko has inherited the teachings, is not accepted by other schools of Nichiren Sect.

Nikkobon (book by Nikko)
November 6, 1468
Nikko, the tenth chief priest of Juhon-ji Temple, transcribed the whole Nika Sojo at Omosu. It is at Yobo-ji Temple in Kyoto.
(Kaki Koshuroku (Record of Summer Seminar), volume 2)

The contents of Nikkobon can not be confirmed since it is not open to the public, but it is believed that since Nikkyo, who is introduced below, was also from Yobo-ji Temple, that Nikkobon has the same contents as Nikkyobon (book by Nikkyo).

Nikkyobon
In 1482, Nikkyo (日叶) of Juhon-ji Temple submitted to Taiseki-ji Temple and changed his name to Nikkyo (日教). There are 2 books that are called Nikkyobon, and the contents of Minobu Sojo and Ikegami Sojo is replaced by each other.

Hyakugojikkajo (Hundred and Fifty Articles)
In 1480, Nikkyo of Juhon-ji Temple wrote 'Hyakugojikkajo' and quoted Nika Sojo in the book.

Minobu Sojo
The lifetime preachings of Nichiren were entrusted to Byakuren Ajari Nikko, and he should become a great preacher to spread honmon (second half of 28 chapters of Lotus Sutra), if the lord of the province respects these teachings, Kaidan (Buddhist ordination platform) of Honmon-ji Temple should be constructed at Mt. Fuji, and you should only wait, this is the Kaiho (religious precepts in Buddhism), and especially our disciples should obey this document. In October (blank), 1282, lineage of Nichiren and Nikko, written at Mt. Hakii in Kai Province.
Ikegami Sojo
Fifty years of preaching by Shakyamuni should be entrusted to Byakuren Ajari Nikko, he should become the betto of Kuon-ji Temple on Mt. Minobu, and all the lay believers and monks who are against this should be regarded as ones that are against the Buddhist teachings. November 21, 1282, honorable seal by Nichiren, Ikegami in Bushu (Musashi Province).

Ruiju Kanshushi ("My Personal Views" written by Nikkyo)
In 1488, Nikkyo wrote 'Ruiju Kanshushi' and quoted Nika Sojo there.

Minobu Sojo
Fifty years of preaching by Shakyamuni is entrusted to Byakuren Nikko, he should become the betto of Kuon-ji Temple on Mt. Minobu, and lay believers and monks who are against this are regarded as people who are against the teachings of Buddhism. November 21, 1282, honorable seal by Nichiren, lineage of Nichiren Nikko, written at Mt. Hakii in Kai Province.
Ikegami Sojo
The lifetime preachings of Nichiren are entrusted to Byakuren Ajari Nikko, he should become a great preacher to spread honmon, if the lord of the province respects these teachings, he should construct Kaidan of Honmon-ji Temple at Mt. Fuji, and he should wait, this is the so-called Kaiho, and especially our disciples should obey this document. In October (blank), 1282, honorable seal by Nichiren.

Rokunin Ryugi Haryu Shoshiki (literally, Commentary on proposition of six people)
In 1489, Nikkyo wrote 'Rokunin Ryugi Haryu Shoshiki' and quoted Nika Sojo there.

Minobu Sojo
Fifty years of Shakyamuni's preaching is entrusted to Byakuren Nikko, he should become the betto of Kuon-ji Temple on Mt. Minobu, and lay believers and monks who are against this should be regarded as those that are against Buddhist teachings. November 21, 1282, honorable seal by Nichiren, lineage of Nichiren Nikko, this is written in the mountain at Hakii-go Village of Kai Province.
Ikegami Sojo
The lifetime preachings of Nichiren are entrusted to Byakuren Ajari Nikko, he should become a great preacher to spread honmon, if the lord of the province respects these teachings he should construct Kaidan of Honmon-ji Temple at Mt. Fuji, and he should wait, this is the so-called Kaiho, and especially our disciples should obey this document.
October (blank), 1282, honorable seal by Nichiren

Nichigenbon (book by Nichigen)
In 1516, Nichigen, the 8th chief priest of Echigo Honjo-ji Temple, quoted the whole Nika Sojo in 'Gonin Shoha Shoshaku' and further wrote as follows.

Nichigen says, the first sojo (October 22) is Minobu Sojo, and the second one (November 21) is Ikegami Sojo and so on. The honorable seal is a original one. However, the handwriting is not by Nichiren, and it seems to be forged. Also, it is not the handwriting of Nikko, either, and I hear that it is similar to the handwriting of a person called Kurodo Ajari Nichidai.
(Nichiren Shu Shugaku Zensho, volume 7 - 182)

Nikko came down from Kuon-ji Temple on Mt. Minobu, received donations from the Nanjo clan, constructed Taiseki-ji Temple but handed this over to Nichimoku, and after 2, 3 years, he constructed Omosu Dansho (Omosu Honmon-ji Temple). The second chief priest of Omosu was Nichidai. Nichidai was thrown out from Omosu, later founded Nishiyama Honmon-ji Temple, and assumed the position of the first chief priest there. Also, since there is the name of Nichikaku recorded on the family register of deaths in Nishiyama Honmon-ji Temple, it is supposed that both temples had exchanges with each other.

Nisshinbon (book by Nisshin, also known as Nichiyobon)
It is said to be a transcription of Nika Sojo in Omosu which was ordered to be transcribed by Nisshin in Kyoto Yobo-ji Temple to his disciple Nichiyo in 1556, and exists in Nishyama Honmon-ji Temple. The characteristics are that the date in Minobu Sojo is written as 'October (blank)' and does not have the date 22, and Mt. Minobu is written as Mt. Mito. The contents of Nikkobon cannot be confirmed, but since it is written as Mt. Minobu in Nikkyobon which is located at the same temple, Juhon-ji Temple, it is said that Mt. Mito is simply a mistake in transcription.

However, in the transcription by Nisshu, the 14th chief priest of Taiseki-ji Temple (the period as chief: 1573 - 1586), which is handed down in Taiseki-ji Temple, it is written as 'Mt. Mito,' and the Taiseki-ji Temple side assumes that there is a possibility that the original document was written as 'Mt. Mito.'
The transcription by Nisshu is regarded as almost the same as Nisshinbon.

The Loss of Nika Sojo
In April 14, 1581, 300 years after the death of Nichiren, vessels of Katsuyori TAKEDA raided Omosu, and robbed Nika Sojo (Fujishu Gaku Yoshu (Teachings of Nichiren sects), volume 9 - 17 and 20). Nika Sojo documents were robbed by the army of Katsuyori TAKEDA and were transmitted as being lost in the disturbance by TAKEDA, and books were wrote about the story of Nika Sojo's loss by Nichiga and others in Hota Myohon-ji Temple, but there is a record stating that Ieyasu TOKUGAWA read the Nika Sojo thirty years after the disturbance.

In the Year 1611
Ieyasu, in Sunpu-jo Castle, read Nika Sojo brought from Omosu.
(Sunpu Seijiroku (Records of Sunpu Government) and Sunkoku Zatsushi (Topography of Sunpu), volume 31 - second - 74)

In the Year 1611
Honko Kokushi received Nika Sojo from Doshun (Razan HAYASHI) and wrote it in his diary.
(Bukkyo Zensho (Compendium of Buddhism), Honko Kokushi Nikki (the Honko Kokushi Journal), volume 1 - 165)

In 1617, Nichiyo, the 24th chief priest of Mt. Kanama, went to Omosu and read Nika Sojo.
(Fujishu Gaku Yoshu, volume 5 - 60)

On June 13, 1877, read them at Okazeire (summer airing) at Omosu (Kitayama Honmon-ji Temple).
(Komon Guketsu (Kegi (the way Buddha guides people) of Komon School)

Since the record of Nika Sojo in Omosu after that is not certain, it is also said that they still are concealed in Omosu.

Others
There are documents other than Nika Sojo such as 'Hyaku Rokka Sho' (One Hundred and Six Articles, also known as Kechimyakusho) and 'Honinmyosho' (Honin-myo Sho (On the Mystic Principle of the Original Cause, also known as Hokkehonmonshu Kechimyakusojonokoto (document about the inheritance of blood lineage in Hokke Honmon Sect)), which are also called Ryokan Kechimyaku (blood lineage of two books), but both are criticized by other sects within Nichiren sects that they are fake books.